This article presents event studies that find a significant effect on dollar bond yield spreads when rating agencies put emerging-market sovereign bonds on review with negative outlook. The finding has two conditional implications. If rating agencies can be turned from late into early warning signals, they would have the potential to dampen boom-bust cycles in emerging-market flows. If rating agencies cannot improve on their reactive approach witnessed in the run-up and aftermath of recent currency crises, regulation and guidelines stipulating a certain rating status for institutional investment will continue to intensify boom-bust cycles. The paper concludes with regulatory suggestions for both outcomes.
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